HOUSING Secretary Henry Cisneros unveiled a $30 billion plan Wednesday that he said would revamp the nation's public housing projects and create more chances for Americans to buy homes.
But some opponents said the proposal would simply reduce the number of affordable places to live, and would result in the government helping upper-income people buy homes through programs established for the poor.
The Housing and Community Investment Act of 1994, which requires congressional approval, would double the amount of federal aid to homeless people, to $1.7 billion. It also would devote $1 billion to replacing dilapidated high-rise projects with compact, garden-style apartments. Parking perk preserved for Senate
CONGRESS'S free parking lot at Washington National Airport will soon be moved because of construction. The Senate came close to voting for it to disappear altogether.
Senators, however, clearly had their political radar turned on and in focus Wednesday as they voted 53-44 to defeat a resolution to eliminate the spaces at National and Dulles International airports.
Most of those running for reelection voted to eliminate the perk, a decision likely to be popular with some voters.
But none of the retiring senators voted to get rid of the parking. Instead, they backed the longstanding availability of close-in, no-cost spaces to senators and House members, whose annual salary is $133,600.
Only the sponsor of the nonbinding resolution expressing ``the sense of the Senate'' spoke in some favor. Sen John McCain (R) of Arizona argued the 175 spaces in the two airports - also reserved for diplomats and Supreme Court justices - were symbolic of a Congress ``out of touch'' with ordinary Americans.
But Sen. John Danforth (R) of Missouri, retiring after 18 years in the Senate, appeared to save the spaces with passionate oratory that many lawmakers felt - but did not express openly. He reminded senators how they are always making frantic dashes to the airport from the Senate floor to catch the last plane to their home states.
``The surest way to stir up resentment'' against members of Congress, he said, ``is to portray ourselves as privileged'' workers with a ``cushy'' job.
``Are we like everybody else?'' he asked. ``Is there anybody in the US Senate who works a 40-hour week? Does the whistle blow here at 5 o'clock? This isn't a 40-hour workweek. Does anybody want an 80-hour workweek in this country, or a 100-hour workweek? That's more like it.''